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Technology – a labour saving device for teachers

Sunday, November 6th, 2011 | education, Tips | Comments Off

Teachers, do you know that that technology is the best painkiller for admin work?  Admin is certainly the least glamorous part of teaching but technology – particularly a computer – can take the sting out of it.

Consider just a few examples of how technology can make your life easier:

You will save a lot of time when you use a computer to create test and examination papers, class notes and lesson plans. 

Once documents have been created – and stored electronically – they are available for instant reuse at a later date.  Even when changes are required, these can be made in a jiffy, eliminating the need to recreate the entire document.

If you use a spreadsheet to record student performance, you will save yourself much recording and calculation time – and your figures will be more accurate.  At the press of a button you’ll be able to  obtain averages and other statistics required by the education system; this will also help you to keep your finger on the pulse of the class and can inform you how effective your teaching is.

You may think that these tips are so obvious … it is not so obvious to more than 90% of teachers in South Africa who are not yet using technology!  Let’s encourage them to do so.

If you have found ways in which technology has eased the admin burden of teachers, please share them with us.

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Can technology make a teacher more productive?

Sunday, December 26th, 2010 | technology | 2 Comments

What does it mean to be productive?  Some shy away from the word because it sounds too much like hard work.  Teachers complain: “How can it be expected of us to produce more?  The education department is overworking us as it is – and now you want us to do even more!”

Does greater productivity necessarily mean working harder?  If you’re not a hard worker then yes, it means you have to work harder.  But if you are already a hard worker it does not mean that you must become an even harder worker.  Think for a moment about the definition of productivity:

Productivity is the amount of output per unit of input, where input may be time, equipment or money – you’ll therefore be more productive if you manage to increase your output, while keeping your input the same.

This tells us that, with the same amount of input – the same time and effort – you can become a more productive teacher.  How?  By increasing the output.  Technology can help you to increase your output with the same amount of input in two ways:

Using tools such as a word processor and a spreadsheet – often called productivity tools – technology will make your admin work easier, quicker and more accurate.  You will be able to spend less time on admin, leaving you more time for other productive work.

In a classroom the output is the amount of learning taking place.  How much do the learners in your class learn?  You know that some teaching sessions may pass with hardly any learning happening while a session of the same duration could be highly productive with a lot of learning takes place.  Technology holds the attention of learners and encourages their involvement – since this increases the potential for learning, your lessons become more productive. 

Productivity means accomplishing more with fewer resources.  Technology may come at a price, but when you experience the ways in which it will help you to increase your output you’ll soon conclude that it is indeed a bargain.

For more technology tips for teachers click here.

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Can technology ease a teacher’s admin burden?

Monday, December 20th, 2010 | technology | 3 Comments

No job is finished until the paperwork is done.  Unfortunately this is also true of a teacher’s work.  Administration work – admin for short – takes much of a teacher’s time and anything that can lighten that burden is welcome.

When you bring technology into the classroom to assist you with teaching you will be pleasantly surprised to learn that it has the additional benefit of helping you with admin tasks.

The computer in your classroom has many uses.  If the computer is a laptop, it is even better, since you will be able to carry it with you so that you can catch up with your admin work in the staff room or at home.

Here are a few ways in which technology can help to cut your admin load: 

Use your computer to create documents such as examination papers, worksheets and lesson plans.  The preparation of these documents may be time consuming but once created, they are yours forever.  Just imagine the amount of time you’ll be saving in the future.

Maintain learner score sheets on your computer –tools that calculate automatically and update records as figures are changed, are available to you.  This is a great time-saver and ensures accuracy.

A computer makes a great filing cabinet!  All your lesson plans, notes, lists, reports and other documents can be filed and stored in one place.  This results in an orderly system and saves searching time.  It also saves a lot of space – with all your documents safely stored on your computer, you can ditch all those bulky paper files.

Instead of going through the process of filling in an attendance register, you can display an electronic version of the register on an interactive whiteboard, and then invite learners to come up to the board to click their presence.  An added advantage of this approach is that the personal responsibility of being present in class is impressed on the minds of learners.

If you take your laptop along to a meeting you will be able to take and type the minutes while the meeting is in progress.  Think how much time you could save if you prepare and issue the minutes on the spot!

When you start using your classroom technology you’ll discover more ways in which it can help you with admin tasks – time saved in these ways will allow you to focus on the more enjoyable and rewarding aspects of teaching.

For more technology tips for teachers click here.

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Can a laptop ease my admin burden?

Monday, January 26th, 2009 | Computer Usage | 5 Comments

Administration – even the work is an unpleasant mouthful.  Perhaps that is why we try to soften it by calling it “admin”.

Admin is, without question, the least glamorous part of teaching.  The good news is that a laptop can help to ease your admin burden.  It can be particularly useful when dealing with repetitive and time consuming tasks.  Time saved in this way allows you to focus on the more enjoyable and rewarding aspects of teaching. 

Here are a few ways in which a laptop can cut your admin load.

A laptop can be used to prepare examination papers, test papers, worksheets, lesson plans and similar documents.  The documents you create can be saved for later use.  A laptop also makes it easier to share these documents with colleagues – by sharing resources, you are all able to work faster and smarter.

You can use your laptop to keep records of test results and class attendance.  A laptop includes tools that can calculate automatically, updating records as figures are changed.  This is a great time-saver and ensures accuracy.

A laptop makes a great filing cabinet!  All your lesson plans, notes, lists, reports and other documents can be filed and stored in one place.  This results in an orderly system and saves searching time.  It also saves a lot of space – with all your documents safely stored on your laptop, you can ditch all those bulky paper files.

If you take your laptop along to a meeting you will be able to take minutes while the meeting is in progress.  Just imagine how much time you could save if you prepare and issue the minutes on the spot!

A laptop can help you to automate routine tasks and take the slog out of admin.  When you start using your laptop you will discover more ways in which it will save you time and effort.

Click here to find answers to more laptop related questions.

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